Authors: Penny Wylder
HER DAD’S FRIEND
opyright © 2016
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or businesses, organizations, or locales, is completely coincidental.
now what happens
when you bring a bottle of cinnamon whiskey to a party? Nothing good, that’s what. It should come with an additional warning label: May cause extreme stupidity and drunk sexting.
I blame it on Emily. Who needs enemies when you have friends like her? She bought the booze and it was her idea to come to this frat party in the first place and practice at being twenty-one before my birthday tomorrow.
I admit, it started off as a good time. Several of my friends are here, the music’s perfect, and there’s a hot tub, so bonus. I’m a crack shot at beer pong and hit the best of all the flat notes during karaoke. But, as we all know, good times and good decision-making aren’t one and the same. I may or may not have butt-chugged Gray Goose with future lawyers and house wives. And I probably danced topless on the sofa since that’s what all the pictures on Instagram are showing—only I don’t pay too much attention to those since that shit can be photo-shopped. During all of this, I lost my shoes, and who knows what happened to my bra.
At least Emily is here to keep me in check. She has always been the responsible one—about as responsible as a toddler dog-sitting, but still, she’s a better grown-up than me.
She suggests a group of us get together to play
Would you rather
in one of the quieter rooms. It’s a game. No big deal. A game can’t get me in too much trouble, right? Yeah … right.
Her question for me is, “Who would you rather fuck, your ex or his dad?”
Of course I choose his dad, because he was hot and my ex was kind of a douche. Thing is, I’ve always had doe eyes for older men. It all started with my dad’s best friend, Paul. He looks good for his age, a silver fox covered in tattoos, and is in better shape than most guys who go to my school. And OMG those tropical blue eyes and five-o’clock shadow on a strong jaw. Yes, please.
We’ve been flirting since I turned eighteen. He’d tell me how beautiful I was, complement my ass in a pair of jeans, or notice how nicely I’ve developed. It was all innocent. Never going too far, no touching or talking about sex or anything like that. But I want him. Bad. Just thinking about him has me pooling between the legs.
I lean against the pool table, looking around at all these young bucks strutting around the house in their polos and cargo shorts. I wonder which one I can use for the night. Maybe do some role playing, pretend he’s Paul, have myself a daddy fantasy.
A cute jock-type walks by with all his muscles and cocksure youth. His boner is about as subtle as a rocket launcher smuggled under spandex pants. The way he stares at me leaves no questions about his interest. Though I’m definitely in the mood, his baby face just won’t do because I know how this story ends. I’ve read it many times—well, not
many. Enough to count on one hand … and maybe some toes.
I see it so clearly: We’ll end up in his sock-stinky room full of pizza crusts and porn magazines littering the floor. The glow from his snake terrarium and the video game he has on pause will double as mood lighting. He’ll fumble around my body aimlessly and expect me to oooh and ahhh and appreciate all the pleasure he’s not giving me for five minutes until he gets his rocks off. Then he’ll promise to call the next day. I’m bored just thinking about it. So I don’t even bother.
When he heads toward me, I cover my face with my phone and pretend he doesn’t exist. He’s sober enough to get the hint.
I continue to play with my phone even after he’s gone. My ass is wet and sticky from spilled drinks on the floor. I move to the stained, threadbare couch next to Emily and find Paul’s name in my contacts. When I’m bored I like to look through our old texts. Birthday wishes from last year, a Merry Christmas here, Happy Thanksgiving there. There are pictures of us during a houseboat trip, and at an airshow. Unfortunately, my parents are in all the pictures too.
The whiskey has gone to my head and there’s no room left in there for rational thinking. Not a single consequence occurs to me as I type out five little words.
I want to fuck you
I show Emily. “What if I actually sent this?” I can hear myself talking slow and slurring my words. I’ve drank my body weight in everything over fifty proof and it’s starting to show.
She squints at the little screen. My phone is prehistoric and has a Post-It sized screen. When she’s done reading, her eyes go wide and she says, with a sly smile, “What if you did?” Her words are clearer than mine. She never drinks as much as I do. That’s what maturity looks like, and someday I want to be just like her. But right now I’m having fun.
Or at least I was until she reaches over and hits the send button on my phone.
“Emily!” I yell, jabbing at the screen, trying to get the words back somehow. “What the fuck?” I can be heard over the music and everyone turns to gawk in the hopes of a cat fight.
I stare at my phone, mouth breathing, hoping she hit the wrong button, but no. The text is there, right under his last text to me several months ago, congratulating me on getting my own apartment.
Emily rolls her eyes and tosses her blond ponytail over her shoulder. “You’ve been talking about hooking up with Paul for years now. I just did you a favor. You’re welcome.”
Turning away, she goes back to her game like it was nothing. Like she hadn’t just ruined my life with a touch of a finger.
My buzz is DOA. Instant sobriety. I want to go home, but I came with Emily and don’t have enough cash on me to call a cab. Right now, I just need a place to disappear. I stumble to the closest closet, kicking at beer cans and stubbing my toe on a keg. Where the hell are my shoes?
In the closet, I sit among the coats and sports equipment, wondering how the hell I can undo this. For an hour I literally do just that: Google ‘how to un-send a text’. Apparently, that’s not a thing. I guess us fucking idiots are on our own.
When I finally make it back to my apartment at three in the morning, I stay up as long as I can, trying to finish reading the paperback I started three months ago while I wait for him to text back. I think about sending another, saying, “just kidding!” or telling him I’d sent that to the wrong person, but part of me is glad it’s out there. I want him to know. My eyelids grow heavy and before I know it, I’m drooling on my pillow and dreaming I’m being chased by fried eggs with a spatula—I have weird-ass dreams after I’ve been drinking.
When I wake up in the morning, I no longer want Paul to know how I feel about him. I regret everything.
It’s early. I always wake up early when I’d rather sleep in. My phone vibrates, rattling from one end of my bedside table to the other.
Shit. I can’t look.
Instead of dealing with it, I roll over and try to go back to sleep. Fat chance with the groundkeepers mowing the lawn outside my bedroom window and the neighbor’s parrot on its perch outside, singing it’s unholy morning song like some goddamned city rooster. It doesn’t help either that the sun shining through my window feels like a Death Star laser beam searing into my face.
I’m in a bad fucking mood. I also have a Godfather of a hangover and my stomach is in knots.
Closing my eyes, my mind goes straight to the ominous “what if” pile and jumps in it like a Labrador in a heap of autumn leaves. What if the text blinking on my bedside table is from Paul, telling me he doesn’t want anything to do with me? What if he told my dad? I would die. If the embarrassment didn’t kill me, my dad definitely would. The good thing is Paul doesn’t live in town. He moved away to the other side of the state two years ago and I haven’t seen him since, so avoiding him is easy.
I slam my arm down on the bed, mad at myself for being so stupid. Next time I get drunk my phone is going in a lockbox with a key, retina scanner, and most importantly, a breathalyzer. I won’t have access to it until I blow under the legal driving limit.
Unfortunately, I can’t lay in bed and avoid my phone forever, so I say a hail Mary and pick it up.
My entire body sighs when I see it’s from Emily. The text says,
‘Get up, bitch, time for some birthday pampering.’
Still no text back from Paul.
After dragging my body into the shower and brushing the dead animal off my teeth, Emily takes me out for a manicure. I try to stay mad at her for hitting send on that text in the first place, but it’s impossible while having my hands massaged. Sitting in the chair, getting my nails painted a bright shade of teal, I ask her, “Do you think it’s strange my parents haven’t called to wish me happy birthday yet?”
They always call first thing in the morning to wake me up on my birthday, Mom singing terribly out of key while my dad mumbles his happy birthday in the background. I was going to mention Paul not sending a birthday text either, but was afraid it sounded too pathetic.
“Em?” I say when she doesn’t respond. The entire time I’ve been with her this morning, she’s been on her phone. She has makeup on and her hair curled. I don’t know how she manages to pull her shit together after a night of drinking when I feel like a child’s beaten doll dragged through the mud.
“Oh, sorry.” She takes one last look at the screen before she puts the phone in her pocket. “It’s not even noon yet. I’m sure they’re still in bed … Maybe your dad took your mom over to pound town, if you know what I mean,” she says, thrusting her hips while sitting in the chair. Our manicurists look at her, then at each other and say something in a language I’m not familiar with.
I lean my head back in the chair and look up at the ceiling, trying to calm my roiling stomach. “Thanks for that visual. I just puked in my mouth.”
After manicures, we grab hangover smoothies and Emily is back on her phone. I’m like the Hulk when I feel like shit and right now I’m fighting the urge to rip that phone out of her hand. I’m getting so sick of the clicking sound as she speed-types. Seriously, hasn’t she heard of Swype? I don’t know why she even bothers taking me out if she’s just going to ignore me.
She says she wants to go out to lunch too, but at this point I’m fed up and don’t even want to go. Plus, my stomach is still a witch’s cauldron about to spew forth some black hell if I’m not careful.
How is it that every time I drink heavily and feel like shit the next day, I’m always ready to do it all over again by the time the next weekend rolls around? It’s starting to feel like I signed up for college just to not learn lessons.
“Look, Em, I’m tired,” I say, trying to tamp down the inner dragon lady I feel starting to rage up inside of me. “Maybe we can go to lunch some other time.”
“Are you sure?” She sounds somewhat relieved, which only pisses me off more.
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
“Can I drop you off at your parent’s house? Your apartment is out of the way and there’s kind of this guy—”
“Fine, I don’t care.”
There’s always “this guy” with Emily.
We head toward my parents’ house. It’s more of a mansion than a house, really. Eight bedrooms, five baths, a pool house. When I tell my friends where I grew up, they automatically think I’m some trust fund baby. A latchkey kid with a bottomless platinum card. But that’s not how it is. Yes, my parents are wealthy, but I don’t get anything from them. Hell, I don’t even own a car because I can’t afford the insurance and gas bill. My dad had to work for everything he has and he expects me to do the same. He thinks I’ll appreciate things more, and so far he’s been right. Everything I own I’ve had to bust my ass to get. I’ve scrimped and saved, and worked my fingers to the bone. Even if I wanted something from him, he’d never give it freely.
We go through the open gate, up the long driveway. There are clusters of cars parked off to the side. Emily parks in front.
“Who are all these people?” Emily asks. Instead of just dropping me off, she gets out of her Saab and follows me as I make my way to the front door.
“I don’t know. Maybe my mom’s having some kind of brunch for her friends.”
That must be why she was too busy to call me on my birthday, I think bitterly.
As we approach the front door, I hear music playing, but it’s not coming from inside, it’s coming from around back by the pool. My parent’s never use the pool. They spent a fortune on the damn thing, but they aren’t exactly outdoors people. It’s an Olympic sized lagoon style pool made out of rock—or something that’s make to look like rock. There’s a waterfall, natural slide, and a large cave for those who want to lounge around in the water without getting a sunburn, or if they just want a little privacy.
We head to the side of the house and go through the gate. When we get to the pool area, there’s a large gathering of people holding champagne glasses and looking in our direction. The barbeque is going, the smell of cooking meat and garlic salt wage war with my stomach. It gurgles and I can’t tell if I’m just really hungry or getting ready to projectile vomit.
I see my mom and dad in the crowd and I stop. Takes me a second to gather all the faces in my sleepy brain and realize I recognize most of them. There are friends from my old high school, and friends from college. Some of the guys here I recognize from the frat party last night.
“Surprise!” They all yell in unison, and my headache hates them for it.
“How pissed at me are you right now?” Emily says, smirking and shaking her phone. This whole time she’s been in cahoots with my parents, planning this thing, and I’m genuinely surprised. Especially when I see Paul standing among my friends and family.